Real Estate News

U.S. mortgage rates rise again, approach highest level in two decades

'Home sales have declined significantly and, as we approach year-end, they are not expected to improve.'

A year ago at this time, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.98%. Adobe Stock

The average for a 30-year, fixed loan rose to 7.08% from 6.95% last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday. Rates have been hovering around the highest levels in two decades. 

A year ago at this time, it averaged 2.98%.

Borrowing costs have skyrocketed since the beginning of the year, pushing some buyers out of the market and forcing others to cancel deals. Affordability has worsened in the market, with first-time buyers spending even more of their income on mortgage payments.

“The housing market is the most interest-rate sensitive segment of the economy, and the impact rates have on home buyers continues to evolve,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Home sales have declined significantly and, as we approach year-end, they are not expected to improve.”

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The Federal Reserve, in its efforts to tamp down inflation, has hiked its benchmark interest rate this year, raising it by another 75 basis points last week. Inflation is now starting to show signs of softening, with a key measure cooling in October by more than forecast.

The monthly payment on a $300,000 mortgage now would be $2,012, about $711 more than the start of January, when the 30-year average was 3.22%.

Other measures of mortgage rates have pointed to slightly higher levels. The Mortgage Bankers Association said the average on a 30-year, fixed mortgage hit 7.14% in the week ended Nov. 4, while Mortgage News Daily currently reports a 7.22% rate. 

Companies across the real estate industry have been pressured by the housing market’s sudden shift this year. Redfin Corp. said Wednesday that it would shut down its iBuying business — a large-scale type of home-flipping operation — and lay off around 13% of its staff, adding to the cuts it made in June.

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